Short answer: yes.

Longer answer: it depends on where your DWI happened, whether you have prior DWIs, what your alcohol concentration was, whether there were kids in the car, if you refused the test, among other circumstances.

Most 4th Degree DWI cases do not result in jail time in Minnesota, although they are misdemeanor offenses with a maximum punishment of up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. These are first-time offenses where a person’s alcohol concentration is under .16. After the DWI arrest, and after a person takes a breath, blood, or urine test, the police will often let a person leave once they sober up or within a few hours to a sober party. In a small minority of jurisdictions in Minnesota, a person will have to wait until bail is paid or they see a judge after an arrest for 4th Degree DWI. Once the court process begins, most counties will not impose jail time in 4th Degree DWI cases. They may impose probation, a fine, community service, chemical dependency evaluation, and attendance at a MADD Victim Impact Panel.

Your biggest risk of serving jail time is if you have a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Degree DWI charge. A 1st Degree DWI charge is a felony offense. A first-time felony DWI (fourth DWI in ten years) triggers a mandatory minimum jail sentence of at least 30 days in jail and 150 days of house arrest. A second felony DWI offense is a presumptive commit to prison offense. There will also be significant probationary conditions or supervised release commitments for felony DWI convictions, including chemical dependency evaluations, alcohol-use monitoring, fines, and other programming.

2nd Degree DWI cases are gross misdemeanor offenses that have a maximum punishment of up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. You can receive a 2nd Degree DWI charge if you have three DWIs in ten years. In that scenario, a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days in jail and 60 days of house arrest is required by law. You can also get a 2nd Degree DWI case if you have one prior DWI within the past ten years and your new offense is a refusal case, you test at least double the legal limit, or you have a child in the car. In those scenarios, there is a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 48 hours in custody and 28 days of house arrest. There will also be probation, including fines, chemical dependency evaluations, and other programming.

3rd Degree DWI cases are also gross misdemeanor offenses. You can receive a 3rd Degree DWI charge if you have a prior DWI within the past ten years and you tested under double the legal limit in your new case. In that instance, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail and 28 days of house arrest. You can also get a 3rd Degree DWI on your first offense, if you tested at least .16 or more, had a child in the car, or refused the alcohol concentration test. In those situations, there is no mandatory minimum jail time to serve. But depending on the county where your offense happened, it is possible the prosecution will seek jail time on a first offense charged as 3rd Degree DWI.

In all these situations, the county where your offense happened, the judge who presides over your case, the prosecutor you have, and the defense you put forth can have a tremendous impact on whether you end up serving any jail time. Some jurisdictions, and some judges, flat out will not impose house arrest and will only sentence jail time. In either event, local jail and house arrest time often comes with work release privileges that allow a person to go to work and then back to jail or home. To better understand your situation, and for a case evaluation at no charge, contact the Ambrose Law Firm by phone or email at the Minneapolis location.

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